The Boulay family domaine traces its history back to 1380; the land records for that year mention a Jean Boulay as the owner of vineyards in Chavignol. The Clos de Beaujeu in Chavignol was already known way back then for the quality of its white wine, even though Sancerre was known for its reds up until phylloxera destroyed the vines and the vineyards were replanted with Sauvignon Blanc. Now Gérard Boulay owns the 9 hectares of vines, 8 of which are on the slopes of Chavignol, on Kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils (similar to the soils in Chablis), which he works by hand, organically, since 1990. He planted the youngest vines at the domaine himself in 1972. The wines ferment naturally in tank and are aged in in a mix of foudres and used 300L barrels, except for the Chavignol Tradition, which only sees 5% used wood. Gerard adds no yeast and little to no SO2 during vinfication. He describes his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. In general he works by instinct, “au feeling” because he wants to “let the wine live” and tries not to interfere with the natural process. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” (Nature makes the wine).
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